TFCA Friday: Week of November 23rd, 2018

November 23, 2018

Welcome to TFCA Friday, a weekly round-up of film reviews and articles by TFCA critics.

Emerging Critic Award

Are you an aspiring film critic? Announced at our Gala, the TFCA’s Emerging Critic Award is a fellowship and mentorship opportunity. Applications are open and due December 3rd, 2018.

Opening this Week

At Eternity’s Gate (dir. Julian Schnabel)

It took the world time to catch up with the artist’s “new light,” but Schnabel’s film accurately mirrors it” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It’s an entirely different experience than the other Van Gogh biopics (and the gimmicky Loving Vincent), following the man as he reaches over and over again for that transcendent moment in which he can explain himself and his art” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Doesn’t aim to be a cradle-to-grave biopic, and it will appeal most to those with a previous interest in the artist; if you insist on saying his last name with the guttural “van-hockh” instead of “van-go,” get your tickets now” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The Oscar-nominated director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly returns with another original and impeccably realized dive into the artistic process” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

As an impressionistic portrait of the man, it works, mainly because of the intense vulnerability Dafoe brings to the role” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Undeniably a difficult watch due to its central themes of madness, but the film is by no means not without its pleasures” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Poetic, sparse and mystical and in love with nature. I love the film so much and want to live in it” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Nearly wastes a decent story and an exceptional leading performance from Willem Dafoe as legendarily troubled painter Vincent Van Gogh through persnickety directorial touches” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Border (dir. Ali Abbasi)

The movie works really well as unsettling storytelling… more than this, you probably don’t want to know going in” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

Strange, unique, and almost unclassifiable into any specific genre” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The kind of movie that makes you ask, ‘Did I really just see that?’” — Karen Gordon, Original-Cin

Don’t wait for an English-language remake, if there is one; let the mood and the sound of this one seep into your soul. Pleasant dreams!” — Chris Knight, The National Post

Enchanting and dark — like old-time fairy tales” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

The weirdest film to emerge in cinemas this year. Totally unpredictable” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Seriously, don’t let anyone tell you anything else. Just go see it” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Don’t read another word about it: just go” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

The Christmas Chronicles (dir. Clay Katis)

Playing Kris Kringle in the same cocksure way he portrayed Big Trouble in Little China’s Jack Burton, Russell swaggers through The Christmas Chronicles with effortless cool and charisma” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Whether crooning “Santa’s Back in Town” in shades or trying to convince everyone that he is the real thing, this is Russell’s movie” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Creed II (dir. Steven Caple Jr.)

[The] franchise still manages to keep standing… when all is said and done, the fight scenes are actually quite good” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

If Ryan Coogler’s Creed had to escape the shadow of the Rocky franchise, Steven Caple Jr.’s Creed II has a bigger challenge: it has to escape the shadow of Ryan Coogler” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Feels like it should be the third or fourth sequel to a film and not an immediate follow-up” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

This far into a fight, nothing is really “different.” And yet…” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

It may have some good fight scenes, but the rest is a recycled formula (resulting in) lacklustre melodrama” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

A familiar disappointment though the “familiar” part will probably outweigh the disappointing part for audiences who enjoy the films as adult bedtime stories” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

The Drawer Boy (dirs. Arturo Pérez Torres and Aviva Armour-Ostroff)

A sensitive adaptation of Michael Healey’s 1999 stage play about the transformative power of art” — Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

Works as an often-funny, accessible meta-drama, a reminder that stories tell us as much as we well stories” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

Some audiences might find the adaptation a bit too talky and a bit too stagey, but stick with it” — Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Its character interactions remain oddities, but it’s precisely that which enables the film’s fascination” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

This staging of Healey’s work is frustratingly inert” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

The Great Buster (dir. Peter Bogdanovich)

A celebration of not only Keaton, but the artists of the silent era” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Chris Knight looks at five takeaways from the film: Did you know Buster got into movies thanks to Fatty Arbuckle?

I Think You’ve Been Looking For Me (dir. Kacim Steets)

Raises multiple questions about the bonds between parents and their children. It’s a good story well told about heartache, healing, and identity” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

The Price of Everything (dir. Nathaniel Kahn)

Assembles a grab-bag of erudite creators, collectors, critics and curators to look at the current state of multi-million-dollar art sales” — Chris Knight, The National Post

A pleasure for those interested and familiar with the art world, but it also proves educational and informative for others” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

The overwhelming money versus value question is exhausting and after a while we wonder what it says about the players” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Doesn’t bring anything new to the table since the questions it poses are all well-circulated within spheres of culture vultures and casual art fans” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Ralph Breaks The Internet (dirs. Phil Johnston and Rich Moore)

Ralph Breaks the Internet sets out to do exactly that, living up to its title and character with more vigour and an even greater anarchic sense of glee than in the first Wreck-It Ralph film” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

It’s all pretty bright and bouncy stuff, with bits of Ready Player One, Jumanji and even the recent comedy InstantFamily woven into its code” — Chris Knight, The National Post

It’s no Frozen, Toy Story, or Coco, but has its moments of inventiveness” — Gilbert Seah, Festival Reviews

Really fun! And a candy coloured visual delight” — Anne Brodie, What She Said!

Everything that made Wreck-It Ralph enjoyable, painted on a canvas as big as the Internet itself” — Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

Everything I wanted Wreck-It Ralph to be, and nothing that I feared it would be as a sequel to a nostalgia baiting movie that was merely okay” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

[There’s] a sense that this movie only exists because Disney had a slot to fill on its release schedule, and it was easier to commission a sequel than come up with a new property” — Norm Wilner, NOW Magazine

Less a film, more a commercial. Game over, everyone” — Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret (dir. Barry Avrich)

As a documentary, it’s rather ineffective. It’s exactly the kind of film one expects a white, male industry mover and shaker would make about such a subject” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

Gives an engaging, troubling, and comprehensive account of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the social movement it precipitated” — Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Robin Hood (dir. Otto Bathurst)

So vaporous that viewers will forget they’re watching it as it’s unfolding” — Andrew Parker, The Gate

An ill-written, miscast, miserably performed, historically inaccurate story that cost an estimated $90-million to make” — Chris Knight, The National Post

The Wild Pear Tree (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Brilliantly illuminates the gap in life between what is desired and what is achieved, but the metaphorical light seeps into the frame rather than fully exposing it” — Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

At three hours without much obvious plot, the movie is, no doubt, a bit of a butt-number, though there’s enough wry humour, visual delight, and psychological insight here to more than reward an open-minded viewer” — Liam Lacey, Original-Cin

This is one of the director’s talkiest films, full of literary references and philosophy” — Chris Knight, The National Post